Lone Star College-CyFair’s efforts reaching out to middle school children, in particular, to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education, are evolving.
Each fall, during the college’s annual Cy-Fest, there are numerous activities related to math and science. The math department, the Math Club and students who are planning to teach math at the elementary and middle school level design games to pique the interest of future engineers and scientists. Each spring, LSC-CyFair hosts the Gulf Coast Regional Science Olympiad, which draws junior and high school students from throughout the state.
Last summer, LSC-CyFair held a Summer Bridge STEM Pilot program targeting area middle school students, who would potentially be first-generation college students and where English was not necessarily the only language spoken at home, said Sharon Stefan, associate professor of math.
LSC-CyFair offered two week-long STEM academies for approximately 40 students with sessions concentrating on technology/programming; robotics/pre-engineering; chemistry/biology/physics and mathematics. “The goal was for students to do a week-long academy using math, science and computer modules and tools of the trade, such as do the architectural plans, distribute jobs – landscaper, architect technician – and at the end build and light up a model city,” explains Stefan.
LSC-CyFair student Javier Llovera served as one of six teaching assistants and mentors to the middle school students. He said he enjoyed helping the students with activities, such as participating in a geocaching scavenger hunt, making animated videos, conducting science experiments with different types of energy and hearing speaker engineering presentations related to building aesthetics and architecture as well as about career options.
Stefan said LSC-CyFair’s pilot program, which gave middle school students an opportunity to walk the campus, meet and interact with college students and get excited about going to college, yielded many positive results. In addition, parents not only gained valuable information and resources to help their child get on the right path to college, but they asked for follow up STEM programs.
“LSC-CyFair understands the benefit to our community in providing STEM education to students of all ages,” says Dean of Science, Math and Engineering Dr. Claire Phillips. “Through our many community service efforts, our faculty enlist the help of our students which, in turn, deepens our students’ knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the workplace.”